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  Back to previous page ¦ Weight-loss surgery stories ¦ Search stories

So much to lose, but more to gain

Weight-loss surgery helps man lose 285 pounds

Weight-loss surgery helped Jim Cree drop 285 pounds and helped him walk away from a laundry list of obesity related problems including diabetes, high blood pressure and knee pain.
  Jim Cree used to spend around $450 a month for medications to control medical problems related to his obesity. Three months after his weight-loss surgery in July 2005, he was able to discontinue all of them. “All I take now are two vitamins and an antacid,” he said. “It costs me about $15 a month.”

The financial gains have been accompanied by extraordinary losses. Cree went from his pre-surgery weight of 485 pounds to his goal weight of 200 pounds. His waist decreased from 60 to 38 inches and he’s traded his 5XL shirt for a regular size large. His twice weekly chiropractor appointments have been replaced with a single monthly visit. Last July, he underwent surgery to remove 18 pounds of excess skin from around his belt line.

Before surgery, Cree, now 69, had a long list of health problems associated with his obesity, including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. “My knees would give out and if I fell I had trouble getting up,” he said. Steps were also a problem and physical activity caused him to be short of breath. He could no longer fit behind the wheel of his riding lawn mower to care for his yard.

“I never had any energy and spent most of my time sitting,” said Cree, who lives in Deering, a small town 23 miles northeast of Minot.

Cree was so large his chiropractor was unable to manipulate his back, which would go out from rolling over in bed. The chiropractor recommended Cree contact Sanford Health for gastric bypass surgery. Sanford Health was named a Bariatric Center of Excellence by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, a prestigious award recognizing surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes.

Life-changing surgery

Cree attended a Sanford Health weight-loss surgery information session in Minot. There, he visited with friends who underwent the surgery and recommended Sanford Health. Now, it’s Cree who recommends Sanford Health and the procedure to others.

While people might readily associate the more immediate savings on medications and co-payments, the benefits are far reaching into their futures. Those who get their weight under control will require fewer medical appointments which means less time off needed at the workplace, which is a benefit to the economy. Women who struggled with infertility have become pregnant after their weight was controlled. Patients who were once on disability related to their obesity are able to return to work.

Back on his feet

I have more energy than I know what to do with, Cree said. He dropped 100 pounds the first year and ultimately achieved an amazing 285-pound weight loss. He no longer has problems getting up from the floor by himself. Hes climbing ladders again, and worked last summer cutting down trees and doing lawn maintenance. I do a lot of things now that people dont believe someone my age can do, he said.

Cree now makes use of his push mower and enjoys caring for his flower beds, something he wasnt able to do before his weight loss.

Hes become used to introducing himself to people who no longer recognize him. Thats still a great feeling, Cree said.

I still attend the informational sessions in Minot with my before-and-after photos and encourage people attending to consider the procedure.

I honestly dont think I would still be here if I hadnt had the surgery, he said. I would recommend it to anybody. I feel great. It was well worth it.

Click here for more information about weight-loss surgery or call (701) 323-5300 or
(800) 932-8758, ext. 5300.


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